Thoughtful participation in discussions is a course expectation and is required of all students. You are expected to read the discussions posted weekly. In Week 1 you should provide an introduction to the class. There is no point value assigned to introductions, but it allows everyone to get to know you better. Later in the course you will be assigned to groups of three for a Group Project, so getting to know your classmates early in the course will make working in a team more natural.
There will be 1 or 2 graded discussion questions each week. Each question is worth a total of 10 points. Your original response to each question is worth 6 points and is due by Thursday at 11:59 pm CT. You are expected to respond to a minimum of two other students (per discussion question) with constructive commentary by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT, except for Week 8, which is due 11:59 CT Saturday. Response posts are worth 2 points each, for a total of 4 points per discussion question. Initial discussion posts submitted after the Thursday deadline, will receive a 2 point late penalty. No posts (initial or response) will be accepted after their due date. These posts should provide constructive commentary, beyond “I agree”, “Good post”, etc. Your posting should be original and relevant to the assigned topics. Simply rephrasing another student's post is not acceptable. Discussion postings should be comprehensible and effectively communicate your ideas and should be supported by at least one scholarly source. Please pay attention to the use of capitalization, misspellings, incomplete sentences, and other violations of grammatical rules.
Case Study Assignments
You are required to read and analyze a total of 4 different full-length case studies from the Case Studies E-Book. Case studies will be randomly assigned so everyone in class doesn’t have the same case. Your case study assignment can be found in the Content Area of the course. Each case will require you to demonstrate your understanding of strategic management concepts and theories by completing various analysis, identifying resources, capabilities and core competencies, identifying problems or potential problems for your company and writing Findings of Fact, including in some cases full justifications and recommendations on how to deal with those problems, identifying and articulating business strategies being used by your company, discussing and making recommendations about your company’s Value Chain, and understanding and describing your company’s organizational culture and structure.
While there are definitely right and wrong answers to strategic management questions, in some instances individuals will have different opinions. For example, not everyone will agree on whether a capability translates into a core competency, or what strategic direction a company should take when faced with a particular set of circumstances. Individuals may see some things slightly different, and are able to convincingly articulate why they feel that way. With that in mind, sometimes your instructor will not always be looking for a perfect textbook answer, but for evidence that you understand the many concepts and theories in the field of strategic management. Therefore, your homework assignments should be thorough enough to demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of the material being covered throughout the course.
Case Study Assignments should be double-spaced, 12-point font. Responses to case studies for Weeks 2, 3, and 4 should not exceed 10 pages. Responses to the case study for Week 6 should not exceed 12 pages. Two of these will be used to fulfill a Columbia College Writing Assessment. Case Study Assignment 3 in Week 4 will be used for Part 1 of this requirement, and Case Study Assignment 4 in week 6 will be used for Part 2 of this requirement.
Case Study Assignments are to be turned into the appropriate Dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday for their respective weeks.
Strategic Plan Group Project
In Week 4 you will be assigned to a team of 3 to complete a Strategic Plan Group Project. As a team, you are required to create a Strategic Plan for a mutually agreed-upon, proposed business venture. This exercise will require you to demonstrate your understanding of strategic management concepts and theories by articulating thorough and well-thought-out responses to 13 specific questions provided under the Week 7 Content Area of your course. A team specific discussion area will also be provided for communication purposes.
The Strategic Plan is worth 100 points, and will be graded on the basis of analytical and critical thinking skills, completeness, correct spelling, correct formatting and neatness. It should be double-spaced, 12-point font, and not exceed 20 pages.
The Strategic Plan will also be used to fulfill a Columbia College Group Skills Assessment. You should meet (virtually) regularly with your team members using various methods inside (discussion area) and outside (email, Skype, etc.) the course. This is a team project, so communication, coordination and collaboration between you and your team members is critical to the success of this project. In addition to the Strategic Plan itself, you will also submit a Self Evaluation on yourself at the end of Week 7, as well as a Peer Evaluation on your team members. While the evaluation itself is not graded, it will be used in determining your, and your team members', final group project grade. The Peer and Self Evaluation Form is located in the Week 7 Content Area of the course.
The Strategic Plan Group Project and Peer and Self Evaluation Form are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 7 in their appropriate Dropbox folders.
The proctored final exam is taken between 12:01 am CT Wednesday and 11:59 pm CT Saturday of Week 8. It is a 2-hour timed exam you take online, inside the course under the "Quizzes" section. You are responsible for finding an acceptable proctor and getting them approved by me. This information needs to be submitted to the appropriate Dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 2.
You will have 120 minutes to complete 80 multiple-choice questions. The comprehensive final exam covers textbook chapters 1-12, and is worth 200 points. Some questions will be taken from chapter case studies, so you should include them in your final exam review. You will have 1 attempt on the final exam.
Business Administration Basic Examination
In addition to the final exam, you are also required to take the Business Administration Basic Exam in order to assess your overall learning of the business curriculum here at Columbia College. This exam is not proctored. It is a 90-minute multiple-choice exam is worth 100 points, and taken inside the course under the "Quizzes" section. This exam can be taken anytime between Monday 12:01 am CT and Saturday 11:59 pm CT of Week 8.
The exam is used by the college for assessment purposes. They use the results to look for strengths and weaknesses in the overall business curriculum, for the purpose of making improvements. Based on the cumulative results of many students taking the exam, the business department and senior leadership at the college can tweak the existing curriculum by adding and/or deleting information currently being taught, strengthening important areas of study if it appears students aren’t doing as well as expected, adding or deleting entire courses to ensure the measurable learning outcomes are being met for the business degree, etc. Assessment is a very important part of having a strong curriculum, and your participation is an important component of that overall process.